Reading Guides, Volume 9

Thomas Merton Books – An Intro Reading Guide

Thomas Merton Books

Sunday is the birthday of Thomas Merton, born 31 January 1915.

Merton was a monk who not only wrote elegantly about contemplative life, but also was a gifted poet and social critic. Here is an introductory reading guide to some of the Best Thomas Merton books . I’ve included an excerpt, where possible with each of the books.


1. The Seven Storey Mountain


Merton’s bestselling autobiography of how he found his way to monastic life. This is the most familiar of Merton’s books, but if you haven’t read it, it is a great place to start.



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When did Thomas Merton Live?

Thomas Merton was born on January 31, 1915 in France and died on December 10, 1968 in Thailand.

How many books did Thomas Merton write?

Thomas Merton wrote over 50 books in a wide range of genres from poetry to memoir to theology to social criticism.

What is the Seven Storey Mountain referred to in the title of the most famous Thomas Merton book?

The Seven Storey Mountain refers to the mountain of Purgatory from the epic poem The Divine Comedy by Dante.

What monastic order did Thomas Merton belong to?

Thomas Merton was a Trappist monk, also known as the Order of Cistercians of the Strict Observance OCSO. The Trappists are an order within the larger Benedictine monastic tradition.

UPDATED MAY 2021: To add FAQ

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